The Summer Palace in Beijing -Originally named Qingyi Yuan or the Garden of Clear Ripples, was first constructed in 1750. It was razed to the ground by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886 - is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.
The Summer Palace is located on the western outskirts of Haidian District, between the fourth and fifth ring roads, close to the western hills, 12km from central Beijing. Occupying an area of 304 hectares, the Summer Palace features hilly and water scenery. The Kunming Lake makes up four-fifths of this royal park. The Long Corridor running east-west along the lake as well as the Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha, the Sea of Wisdom, and the Hall of Dispelling the Clouds and Suzhou Street standing south to north on the Longevity Hill are the major scenic spots.
The Summer Palace is an outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole. The Summer Palace epitomizes the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden design, which played a key role in the development of this cultural form throughout the East. The imperial Chinese garden, illustrated by the Summer Palace, is a potent symbol of one of the major world civilizations.